Environmental Policy

Small Town Gets Court To Ban Fracking
February 24, 2012 11:36 AM - Eric Niiler, Discovery News

This week, a New York state judge ruled that the town of Dryden, N.Y., could prohibit fracking as part of its zoning ordinance. It's one of 30 towns throughout central and southern New York that have taken the step. State environmental officials in New York placed a moratorium on fracking while they come up with new regulations to cover oil and gas drilling in the underground geological deposits.

New Apple HQ to be really green!
February 24, 2012 07:34 AM - Zac Colbert, Guest Author, Triple Pundit

Last year, the late Steve Jobs revealed plans for Apple's new 'Spaceship' building to be located in Cupertino City, California. The futuristic structure should be completed in 2015 and will house approximately 13,000 employees. It may look like it's been plucked from the imagination of Philip K Dick, but what was previously the realm of science fiction has now become science fact. It promises to be one of the most technologically advanced offices in the world, being totally self-sufficient for power with the national grid acting only as backup.

In the News: New sanctuaries to help threatened dolphins
February 22, 2012 09:49 AM - Rebecca Moran, ARKive.org

Three new wildlife sanctuaries have been declared by the Government of Bangladesh, in the hope that they will help to prevent the extinction of the threatened Irrawaddy and Ganges river dolphins.

Fires and deaths from deforestation linked
February 22, 2012 07:15 AM - R Greenway, ENN

A new study links smoke from the burning of wood waste from deforestation to deaths from the effects of breathing all that smoke. Worldwide, smoke from these fires (called landscape fires) contributed to an average of 339,000 deaths per year between 1997 and 2006, according to new research published in Environmental Health Perspectives and released today during the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia were the hardest hit by fire-smoke deaths, with an estimated annual average of 157,000 and 110,000 deaths, respectively, attributable to fire smoke exposure, said researcher Fay Johnston, who represented a global team at the 2012 AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

The Quiet Clean Mining Revolution
February 21, 2012 10:56 AM - Guest Author, Clean Techies

Few industries have got the black eye, literally and metaphorically, of mining. After centuries of environmental effects ranging from toxic emissions to unsightly tailings ponds, acid mine drainage, massive energy consumption and other impacts, mining is slowly cleaning up its act. Why? Mostly because new clean technologies are increasing industrial efficiencies. They're lowering mining companies' power needs. And they're even helping reduce water requirements, and/or remediating the produced water and mines of years past that are now leaching toxins. And that's translating into cost savings for mining companies, which are being held increasingly accountable for their environmental impacts and are looking for ways to minimize the expenses of both the production phase of their operations, and reclamation.

Republic of Congo Expands National Park to Protect Great Apes
February 21, 2012 10:39 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The Nouabale-Ndoki National Park is a lush rainforest park within the equatorial nation of the Republic of Congo (ROC), not to be confused with the much larger Democratic Republic of Congo to the south and east. The ROC has followed through on its commitments to expand the NNNP by 8 percent, from about 1,500 square miles to about 1,630 square miles. The newly included area holds a unique ecosystem known as the Goualougo Triangle. The Goualougo is a very dense, swampy forest that is home to a nearly pristine and untouched great ape population that was first discovered in 1989 by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) scientists.

National Defense and President Obama's 2013 Clean Energy Budget
February 21, 2012 08:31 AM - Tina Casey, Triple Pundit

As far as clean energy and green jobs go, President Obama's 2013 budget includes a Christmas-in-July package of initiatives that are designed to help pull the U.S. out of recession while transitioning the economy to cleaner, safer, more reliable and less price-spikey forms of energy. Those last two items — price and reliability of supply — are especially important to the Department of Defense, which will see its rate of growth slow dramatically under the new budget.

World Meteorological Organization launches new weather data system
February 21, 2012 07:01 AM - Alecia D. McKenzie, SciDevNet

An international information system designed to improve and expand the exchange of data on weather, climate and water will help boost food security around the world, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The UN agency, which launched the system last month (31 January), said it would improve access to meteorological observations and products for stakeholders including the research and disaster risk reduction sectors.

High Productivity Farms may be Greener than Organic
February 18, 2012 08:38 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

While organic farms are great, new research finds that farms that aim for high food production using environmentally-friendly practices could be better for the environment than both organic and conventional farms. A new study, led by Oxford University scientists, compared the environmental impact of different farming systems. They found that 'integrated' farms that maximized crop yields while using environmentally-friendly techniques — such as crop rotation, organic fertilisers, over winter cover crops, and minimal use of pesticides — would use less energy and generate lower greenhouse gas emissions per unit of production than both organic and conventional farms.

Science Spending
February 17, 2012 08:19 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Science has changed the world. It has created new products and ease of service. What the future will bring is, of course, always uncertain. "It’s not every day you have robots running through your house," Barack Obama quipped last week at the White House science fair, a showcase for student exhibitors that also gave the US president a chance to reiterate a favourite theme. Science and technology, he said, "is what’s going to make a difference in this country, over the long haul".

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